Where is the fighting in Soledar, the “hottest” point of the conflict?

The city of Soledar, with a population of 10,000, has been the object of fierce fighting between the Russians and Ukrainians for several months. MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / REUTERS

FOCUS- Observers say the small town, 10 kilometers from Bakhmut, is 90 percent under Russian control, with Ukrainian forces holding a last stand on the western edge.

Who would have thought that the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine would find itself at the center of Russia’s war strategy? In the east, this neighborhood in the Donetsk region, which had a population of 10,000 before the war, forms a point with the neighboring city of Bakhmut.the hottestAccording to the regional governor on Saturday, the conflict. Moscow has taken control since Friday. After a fierce battle, the Russian Ministry of Defense “releaseof that city where it allegedly took place, he claimed that “January 12 evening“.

At the same time, Kyiv claims that the city is still “under controlukrainian “Fighting continues inside and outside the cityThis was announced by the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, on Saturday. What about?

90% of the city is under Russian control

According to the Institute for the Study of War, satellite images from January 11 and 12 show that Russian forces will control most, if not all, of Soledar, and that Ukrainian forces have retreated to the western edge of the city. At the same time, on January 12, Russian netizens published footage of Wagner group fighters marching freely through the city alongside Russian forces.

For Olivier Kempf, associate researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Studies, the Russians, who already control 40% of the city last week, “they continued their advance and took the entire center and almost the entire salt mine, i.e. at least 90% of the city.“. Ukrainians therefore “Around the mine No. 7 and the station“, position”despite everything (…) very dangerousPresident Zelensky said in his daily address on Friday that “Battle for Bakhmut and Soledarwas still going on.

Soledar, cheap lens

From a military point of view, observers agree that the town of Soledar, 10 kilometers northwest of Bakhmut, is of very limited interest. “This battle is often compared to Verdun, but at the operational level it has nothing to do with it», emphasizes Guillaume Ancel, a former officer and observer of the conflict in Ukraine. “SIf the German army broke at Verdun, it gave them a major offensive opportunity on the other side of the line. Not so in Soledar.“The military analyst explains.

If it is proven that he was captured by Russian forces, therefore “no operational impact“, confirms the Institute for the Study of War.difficult“More than Russia’s victory in Soledar”Bakhmut shows the imminent encirclement of Russia“.

Why did you make such efforts to capture this city? “Vladimir Putin first wanted to conquer Ukraine and its capital, Kiev», explains Guillaume Ancel on his blog. After the failure of his special operation, he decided to “settle” in the east of the country, but the front was reversed, and his forces even had to leave the Kherson region in order not to move.“he continues.

Wagner’s militia was called to the rescue, so “focused on achieving a domestic “victory” that he (Eugene Prigogine, “Wagner’s boss, editor’s note”) could offer to his master, Vladimir Putin.“. After targeting the city of Bakhmut, a town of 60,000 that was practically razed to the ground by months of fighting, Russian forces “they concentrated all their efforts on a small town six timesThe task before the Kremlin is to win at any cost.

What are the implications for the rest of the conflict?

However, if Soledar is accepted “has no value“, he’s not “not in vain“, emphasizes Guillaume Angel. There”victoryThe actions proposed by the Kremlin will have a certain moral and political impact on the Russian troops. Speaking on Russian television on Sunday, Vladimir Putin himself welcomed the “positive dynamics”. “I hope that our fighters will still please us many times with their military results“, – said the Russian president.

How will the Ukrainian General Staff react to this mass communication? “They may be undecidedGuillaume Ancel explains why Western supporters have refrained from any counterattack in the small city of Kiev. From a military point of view, any leader would make a rational decision to resign. But there is a risk of a media trap. If Kyiv surrenders to Russian communications, it could turn into a death trap, as Russian artillery awaits them.. It would be better if the Ukrainian forces recapture Kremina in the North, or rush to Zaporozhye in the south.”.

SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Bachmout/Soledar, trompe l’oeil towards Russian victory?

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